Two Gulfport Churches Become One

Two Gulfport churches have officially become one. On Sunday Olivet Baptist Church welcomed in the members of the Bread of Life Church. What made it different from other church mergers is that Bread of Life's congregation is predominantly African American and Olivet's is predominantly White.

"We are one body and that's the way it's supposed to be," said Graves. "I believe we're going to see a lot of fruit and growth as a result of laying aside differences and coming together and just being real."

Not long ago both Bread of Life and Olivet Baptist were churches in need. The Bread of Life church was in an inconvenient location while members of Olivet had gone years without a permanent preacher. Members say once when they realized the answer to their prayers was each other, the fact the congregations weren't the same race didn't matter.

Virginia Mitchell said, "It helped both churches to grow and brought more fellowship between both churches."

"We need to be the beacon where blacks and whites can worship together in spirit and in truth and a lot of people professing Christianity are really not possessing Christianity and I think to posses Christ is to welcome everybody," said Robert James.

"I think that God looks at the Blacks and the Whites as one," said Marie Mays. "There's no difference in color. God made us all".

Members of a now united church say they are looking forward to a future together.

Rev. Graves said "We're just hoping that spirit will just catch on like a contagious disease and folks will come regardless of who they are, what racial background they are."

Former members of Bread of Life say they'd already thought of congregation at Olivet Baptist as family way before the merger. That's because they had been attending service at Olivet about once a month for quite some time.

by Danielle Thomas